Grade 2 listed barn conversions: Grade II listed barn renovation

Grade II listed barn renovation

The Grade II listed barns and farmhouse at Elms Farm, Derbyshire, are packed full of history. Originally built in 1775, the barns are the former home of the Little Eaton Brewery Company, owned by Officers, and were used as a malthouse and granary before later becoming a working farm.

Now, what was once the granary stands the home of Fiona Smedley and her husband John, who transformed the barn into the unique and rustic property it is today, all while ensuring the essence of its history remained.

Fiona’s father had bought the barns and farmhouse in the 1980s and ran the site as a farm until he retired in 2017. It was then that he passed on the former malthouse and granary to Fiona and her brother, who took on the buildings with the aim of turning them into homes two years on.

Fiona and John worked with local architect, Paul Gaughan Building Consultants to draw up the plans for the granary, which was being used as a barn at the time. After a few tests to analyse the conditions of the groundworks, all legal checks and necessary approvals were granted without any major changes to the initial architectural drawings.

When builder Ken Tansley from Interbuild Ltd was first introduced to the site back in May 2017, the barn was still full of old farming machinery, cow partitioning, and even had ducks and chickens living in a part of it.

“It was a typical old barn when we first started. We needed to rip a lot out of the building, dig out the floors, do some repointing, and the roof needed to be redone. With it being a listed building, all this preparation and rebuilding work had to be done very carefully and by the book.

“As the build went on, the architects’ drawings did have to be slightly amended, as is the way with many renovations, but fortunately everything went pretty smoothly and there weren’t any major problems or changes.”

Light and heat were two large factors that had to be taken into consideration during the planning stages. The barn had little-to-no insulation, and what would become the second floor had no access to natural daylight – two common issues to tackle in a normal barn conversion, but a Grade II listed property would need extra care and compliance.

To accommodate this, many of the upstairs’ original beams, which the owners had hoped to keep, had to be covered for insulation, and fifteen roof windows were drawn into the plan to bring natural daylight into the top floor rooms.

Ken first heard of Keylite when visiting Buildbase Derby, and soon got in contact with Keylite’s National Brand Development Manager, Tom Jarvis. “Tom was fantastic, he came out to Elms Farm to meet us and even bought a sample. It was an easy sell due to the price and the fact that all the flashing and add-ons came with the windows as standard, which again saved us on time and price. That, and the homeowners knew they could also get a wide range of blinds from Keylite as well.

“The team and I work quite regularly on listed buildings, which meant drawing out the specifications and dealing with local conservation and listed building authorities was a straightforward process.

“Usually, roof windows can pose an issue for listed buildings, as they sit higher than the roof tiles and therefore cause compliancy issues, as well as being an eyesore. However, another huge selling point for Keylite is that the windows are recessed as standard – meaning they sit lower in the roof, enhancing the overall appearance, and improving the thermal performance of the window.”


Two years on, the Barn at Elms Farm has been transformed into a beautiful rural home. Having stayed true to the building’s long history, homeowner Fiona has worked to ensure as much of the original structure is incorporated into her home as possible.

“The barn has such a long heritage, and having grown up on the farm, it’s been such a huge part of my own history too. We’ve kept many of the old original beams uncovered, particularly downstairs, and tried to incorporate as many of the inside stone walls as we can without plastering or covering them up.

“The stone floor that you can see has always been here and was actually what used to cover my old horse’s stable! We took the stone up, installed underfloor heating throughout the property, cleaned it up and laid them all down again.

The L shaped building consists of a lounge, three bedrooms with en-suites, and a sunroom, which used to be an old pigsty, looking out into the garden. The sunroom, true to its name, invites a plethora of natural daylight and warmth thanks to the bifold doors and two Keylite roof windows.

“There is no attic in the barn, meaning the second floor is literally in the roof. Skylights or roof windows were the obvious choice to help bring natural light into the upstairs rooms.

“Four of our hard-to-reach Keylite windows are electric, which definitely saves us from having to reach with a pole every time we want some fresh air, or when it rains.

“The three bedrooms all boast two Keylite roof windows, and each en-suite has an added one. The light that the windows bring in is wonderful and really helps to enhance the beauty of the property. We were only saying the other day just how much we love it here.”

For more information about Keylite Roof Windows, please visit www., call 01283 200 158 or email [email protected].

Real Homes: Grade II Listed Barn Conversion

Real Homes

This project was certainly a labour of love for our clients, starting from scratch to create a multifunctional family space for cosy living and entertaining.

The Brief

We were approached by a family who’d taken on the challenge of renovating a Grade II listed barn in Little Baddow, Essex. They wanted a kitchen that could be a hub for the family; stylish, with state-of-the-art appliances yet with a traditional character that would reflect the period of their property.

Open Plan Kitchen Design

The property needed a complete renovation, but we could see it had massive potential.

Mr and Mrs Reeves.

The couple envisioned an open plan kitchen design with room for large-scale dining and a living area for relaxation. After years of swooning over kitchens in our Brentwood showroom, they finally met with one of our talented designers to formulate a design. The couple were enamoured with our Hartford collection, a timeless shaker style design with a modern twist, precisely what the couple were looking for.

Kitchen Layout

The barn’s layout definitely has the ‘wow’ factor with an exposed brick wall, chimney breast, extra-height windows and mezzanine walkways floating above that add considerably to the kitchen’s open feel. A small-scale kitchen wasn’t going to be an option, so every design element inside the room needed to be of the right scale and well balanced.

Open Plan Kitchen Design

Symmetry and balance is a tenet of shaker design, so this level of consideration chimed well with the kitchen style selected.

Senior Designer, Tamsin Reed.

Design Details

The cabinetry, hand-painted in a soft, heritage grey style, was meticulously made-to-measure, each piece commissioned in accordance with the client’s personal storage needs. The kitchen’s sleek storage solutions tuck away everyday items, keeping them discreetly to hand while maximising living space.

The chimney provided the central focus, and we increased the height of it so that it was higher than the wall units on either side, which celebrated the double-height nature of the room.

To break up the open space in the kitchen area, the family selected an island with a contrasting colour to add visual depth and interest. An integrated sink and clever bespoke storage mean drinks and food can be prepared without missing a moment of conversation, and the cleverly concealed wine cooler keeps drinks close to hand when entertaining.

Finishing Touches

Instead of closing in the space with too many wall units, we created a window seat that doubles as practical storage. The window seat is finished in our beautiful muted grey, drawing attention to the stunning feature window. Architectural features such as this window can’t be moved or concealed, and you wouldn’t want to do that either, but instead of seeing it as a challenge, our designer saw an opportunity to celebrate a unique element and to create something special and unique to that property.

The couple selected a stunning Silestone Lyra quartz worktop and backsplash in Lyra. This coordinated beautifully with neutral limestone flooring, the statement island painted in Dewberry and cabinetry painted in our exclusive paint colour, Thistle.

Discover how a bespoke Tom Howley kitchen can transform how you live and entertain in your home by requesting our free brochure today.

We transform a barn into a house or a gazebo with our own hands: recommendations

Having a summer cottage where the whole family will relax on warm summer evenings is the dream of every family. But what to do if the accumulated amount is only enough to buy a piece of land without a house, and construction is not yet affordable for you?

Do not fall into despair. You can get by with minimal costs – buy a mini-house or garage. It is quite possible to equip these simple structures in such a way that even the owners of more solid houses on the site will envy you.

Of course, in order to achieve a result, you will have to sacrifice part of the family budget, but this option will be the most acceptable for people who are limited in money.

House from a barn

Starting work on a garage (shed)

The future building should not only become a convenient place to store tools and crops – it should also decorate the site, that is, look decent enough. Bought an old barn or garage, of course, is far from ideal. In order to bring it into the appropriate form, the following steps will be required.

  1. Painting. The old surface is carefully cleaned of old paint, if any. At the same time, attention is paid to rust and cracks: if this is the case, such areas must be restored and sanded. Only after that, paint is applied to the surface of the barn, which must be resistant to dampness and temperature changes. If there are colored decorative elements on the site, it is advisable to choose a paint that will be combined with them in color. Bright colors are welcome – they make the building more attractive.

    First of all, it is worth repainting the facade of the future house

  2. Window decoration. Beautiful window decoration will draw the attention of neighbors to your house. Specially selected wooden frames and crossbars will look extremely beautiful. You can hang flower pots or carved shutters on the cornice. Any detail used in the construction of the house makes it more well-groomed.
  3. Roof renovation. This part of the house should be given special attention. If you do not take care of the roof, it can deteriorate over time and begin to leak. It is better to immediately make a pitched roof, covered with tiles or siding.

Particular attention should be paid to the roof – it is better to make a pitched one

Interior design

The new building will not be used if you do not think about how inventory and crops will be stored there. In addition, the house must have lighting.

  1. Arrangement of the working area. At any dacha there are things that require constant repair and maintenance. It is best if a special workplace is equipped for these purposes. You will need a table that will be equipped with a sufficient number of shelves and drawers – this is where various things will be stored. On the tabletop, you can install small boxes for storing small parts – screws, nails, etc.
  2. Mounting panel for tools . A custom panel fixed to one of the walls will help you quickly clean up your new home. It is a shelf with holes drilled in it for tools. It is quite possible to make it yourself – especially for the tool that you have. Thus, everything you need will always be in a prominent place.

    Can be mounted on the wall tool organizer – this way you can get rid of chaos and always find the right item

  3. Hanging storage. If you plan to store bulky things like bicycles in your country house, it’s a good idea to build some hooks into the wall to hang these things on them. Thus, it is easier to keep the house in order and free up space.
  4. Ceiling storage. The same can be done with the ceiling space – some things can be stored on hooks built into the ceiling.
  5. Use of magnetic holders. A convenient option for storing small metal parts is a wooden panel with a magnetic tape located on it. This design will allow you to instantly collect scattered nails and screws.

A good option – magnetic holders for screwdrivers, screws and other metal trifles

How to turn an old barn into a beautiful house: 7 interesting options

Turning an unprepossessing old barn into a solid and attractive house from the outside is not an easy task. But if you approach the process seriously, thoughtfully, and sometimes with notes of creativity, you may be surprised to find that the task turned out to be not so overwhelming.

For example, European architects and designers have been doing this renovation of old buildings for a long time and very successfully. What decrepit structures eventually turn into, then strikes even the most skeptical visitors.

Important! The main thing in any business is desire.

Options for its implementation will be discussed below.

House in the 15th century style

An example of how to turn old premises into a masterpiece of the Middle Ages was demonstrated by British architects. They called their work La Concha House. The result was a cozy two-story building: on the first floor there is a kitchen and a dining room, and on the second floor there are several living rooms and a library. The house was decorated with materials such as stone and glass.

From a barn or garage, you can make a real masterpiece of architecture

House from an old barn

This project was developed in the Netherlands. The owner of the site, who got into possession of a decrepit barn, located on the banks of the river, turned to famous designers with a request to turn this wretched building into a real masterpiece.

It immediately became clear that the facade of the building would have to be changed. The windows of the barn are too small and do not allow you to see the gorgeous views located outside.

Internal redevelopment works have been carried out, a couple of windows have been added.

Interesting! As a result, there was no trace left of the barn.

In the new house you can see a spacious living room, which is combined with a cozy kitchen. In the center there is an original design that combines several functions at once: a ladder, a wardrobe, a bookshelf.

Small house from an old barn

“Shed in the village”

Another brilliant idea from the Netherlands. The project is made in national traditions, moreover, it combines the charm and originality of execution.

One of the features of the house is good ventilation. This allows you to keep a pleasant cool indoors. Vertical blinds installed along the walls create the effect of ventilation, so the house breathes pleasantly, especially on summer and spring evenings.

This design solution is truly unique – it provides a source of fresh air and natural light.

Interesting! If desired, the blinds can be closed.

You can turn a barn into a house and equip it with good ventilation with blinds

Inside the house is decorated in two styles – traditional and minimalism. The living room has a classic design and the same furniture. And the kitchen and bath are an example of minimalist design.

Modern barn in English style

English architects have taken on the restoration of an old barn, located in Surrey, and changed it beyond recognition. The external appearance of the ancient building has remained partially preserved, but inside the interior impresses visitors with its unusual modern style.

The ceiling in the center of the house was raised so that its height was 8.5 meters. As conceived by architects and designers, such a move should add more openness and freedom to the space. And it really worked!

The house is completely wooden, the interiors inside are bright. The original decor of wooden beams gives the interior decoration a unique look.

English style modern barn

Interesting! The main accent of the house is a massive and powerful staircase going up.

Barn from 1862, reconstructed by Czech architects

This rare structure was built in a Czech village at the end of the 18th century. The material for the barn was wood and sandstone.

This old barn caught the attention of architects who decided to turn it into a modern family home.

It was decided to leave the original structure of the building and part of the finishing elements and use them as the main motives for the future interior.

Interesting! One of the non-standard design solutions was glass walls, through which one could see picturesque views of Czech nature.

All reconstruction work was carried out exclusively from traditional natural materials, so that the appearance of the new building blends well with the natural landscape on which it is installed.

It is possible not to change the appearance of the building, decorating it inside and turning it into a residential summer house

New look for the old factory

Old barns are not the only objects of bold design experiments. Any dilapidated building can be turned into an enviable home with the help of modern solutions.

German architect Bruno Erpicum drew attention to a dilapidated factory in the center of Düsseldorf. It miraculously survived the bombings of the Second World War and for a long time was in disrepair.

After professional work on the demolished building, it turned into a spacious apartment in a trendy loft style. Such a curiosity immediately found owners and a young couple settled in it.

It is possible to convert not only a barn, but also just an old building

Interesting! Some of the original features of the new building have been retained, such as the brick walls of the factory, which have given the modern building a special character.

Incredible transformation of an old factory

This story comes from Barcelona. The cement plant, which had been abandoned for several decades, was unspeakably lucky: it was noticed by a famous Spanish architect, bought out and renovated. Today it bears little resemblance to what it once was.

The original goal of the architect was to create his residence in the old factory. As a result, thanks to the huge area of ​​the building, there are living quarters, an office, an archive, a workshop, and an exhibition hall.

There is nothing supernatural in the interior design itself – it is rather restrained and simple. The new owner has retained the industrial look of the building. Moreover, it is on his working background that the main emphasis is placed.

Interesting! The house resembles an unusual eclectic castle with mechanical units hanging over it.

Once inside, visitors are amazed by the large open spaces and high ceilings of the building. The designers played with contrasting textures – for example, in the same interior one can find such seemingly incompatible materials as tulle and concrete. Inside the building, there is an abundance of light that streams from large arched windows.

An interesting modification of the old factory

One of the main decorations of the unusual building is a large garden designed by the architect himself. Majestic palm trees, tall eucalyptus trees, noble cypresses grow here. One gets the feeling that the garden is not an annex to the house, but an integral part of it, because even its walls are completely covered with ivy.

The creator of this wonderful project continues to live and work in his unique residence. According to him, this is the best place he has ever been. Only here is he able to focus on work and fruitfully work on new projects.

Changes that any summer resident can do

Of course, no one would refuse if some famous designers and architects offered their services to change the old barn and turn it into a cozy residence. But when it comes to doing it yourself, most begin to think that this is a difficult and expensive task.

In fact, there are some simple step-by-step instructions that will help turn decrepit barns into pretty houses.

Example 1

For this idea, you will need white exterior paint for wood. She needs to paint the future house both outside and inside. In order to save money, you can paint the inside with ordinary moisture-resistant paint – it is an order of magnitude cheaper than facade paint.

The white color gives freshness to the building, and after only one painting, the barn looks half-transformed.

You can turn a small old barn into a cozy bright house

A doorway is cut into the front of the house. Next, you need a door with deglazing. Now the population adheres to modern trends, so they prefer doors made of plastic and other modern materials. Therefore, you can find some old door thrown out of uselessness and just paint it.

Interesting! As a last resort, the door can be built from the sawn part, attaching two handles and four door hinges to it.

Do not forget about small but no less important details: lace curtains, miniature lamps. Inside, we decorate the space with light summer furniture, bright textile trifles – rugs, napkins, pillows, and more.

Your new cozy summer house is ready!

Example 2

The main highlight of this house are the unusual windows decorated with white frames and slopes. To implement the plan, you will need any bright paint for the walls and white for the platbands.

It is better if the windows have white frames and slopes

Double-glazed windows that are used in the construction of a country house are taken from the cheapest. They don’t even have to be specially ordered. It is quite possible to simply contact one of the large companies that sells “rejected windows” (the so-called windows that, for one reason or another, were not redeemed by the customer). They are brand new, but will cost several times cheaper.

Interesting! You just have to work hard to cut the opening to the right size.

The originality of such a house lies in the deglazing on the windows. To do this, take blind windows – this, by the way, is the cheapest option. And devitrification can be ordered from the manufacturer or you can make it yourself.

We paint the walls and slopes in a refreshing white color. We include outdoor furniture, textile items and other details in the interior. This is the end of the work – the house is ready to receive guests!

To save money, you can purchase “rejected” windows

Example 3

Well, if the shed that will be converted into a house is still solid. And if he is in such a state that no coloring can save him?

Then the next option is suitable, when using a frame and metal sheets, an openwork gazebo in the Japanese style is constructed from it.

First you need to remove the old shed from the shed. Do not rush to throw away the removed boards – the best of them can be useful for frames. Less decent specimens are used to make flooring that goes outside – this serves as a decoration for any summer house.

The prepared frame is covered with two layers of impregnation for wood, preferably in a golden tone. For those who have the money, you can offer an option with decking oil.

Interesting! Thrifty can simply add mineral paint to drying oil.

From the barn you can make an openwork gazebo

The remains of the sheathing, together with improvised means, are used to make openwork elements.

Now, after dismantling, wooden frames often remain, which have a very interesting deglazing. They can be painted the same color as the frame and placed randomly.

After the summer furniture and various decorations are arranged, you can admire the finished building in oriental style.

Example 4

This option is a recreation area near a pond. It can be made from materials purchased at the store, or you can just rebuild an old barn in the same way.

The shed can be turned into a resting place near the reservoir on the plot

At the unnecessary outbuilding, we dismantle three walls and the roof, so only the frame and the only wall with a door and a window remain. The resulting structure is painted white using facade paint for wood. We process the frame, frames and platbands with impregnation for wood (as in example No. 3).

Near such a building it would be appropriate to illuminate the recreation area, you can also highlight the water and the landscape. The resting place by the pond will become one of your favorites in your country house!

Example 5

The “ancient” age of the barn is not always a minus. For example, to create an “antique” summer house, it will fit perfectly – the older, the better.

All you need to do is to install windows with a beautiful deglazing – you can easily find them after dismantling the verandas on old household plots. You can also buy abandoned double-glazed windows (as in example No. 2).

To build a canopy, you can use timber or figured balusters. The latter are sold in any hardware stores.

Even if the barn is quite old, there is no need to put an end to it – it is also quite possible to build a summer house out of it

Interesting! To decorate the house, you can buy decorative slotted elements – they will be installed on its roof. Such changes will change the appearance of the old building beyond recognition.

To get a canopy over the water, you need to slightly extend the roof line. The side ends are sewn up with material – you can use the one that remains after cutting out the window openings.

We make a wooden flooring on the columnar foundation, the edge of which we decorate with a gap. To make elegant railings, you will have to go to the hardware store for accessories.

It is possible not to paint both the façade itself and the added elements, so that the “old touch” is preserved. Only slopes and architraves can be painted white – this will refresh the look of the building and emphasize its elegance.

Then everything goes according to plan: we arrange the necessary summer garden furniture, textile decorations, elegant lamps. Next to such a house, flowerpots or even flower beds would be appropriate.

Example 6

The easiest example of building – this project was carried out by an ordinary woman. It is definitely accessible to everyone, even the most unprofessional builder. Everything is exclusively in your hands! A little imagination – and a stunning house, unlike any other, will become a true decoration of your summer cottage.

Another interesting variant of turning a barn into a cozy house

Of course, it is impossible to do without financial injections into the reconstruction of a barn. And in order to build something really worthwhile and worthy of attention, you need to have at least basic skills in construction, good taste, a lot of free time and patience.

Interesting! If there is a desire to create a miracle on your site, then it is worth it to invest in it both means, and your strengths and skills.

If you look closely, there are not so few examples around when ordinary people make something more like a work of art out of old things. So why don’t you try it too? In any case, it will be an invaluable experience that will come in handy in the future.

Master class: making a cozy house and a gazebo from an old barn

As it became clear, it is quite possible to convert a barn into a cozy house. By the way, often summer houses and gazebos are combined – for example, as in this case. The table below has step-by-step instructions that will help you turn an old nondescript barn into a place for comfortable pastime.

Procedure Description
Step 1 First, all plaster is removed down to the “base” of the OSB.
Step 2 Taking measurements for new siding.
Step 3
Step 3
You can arrange a cozy gazebo next to the future house. It is done simply: you only need a wooden beam and slats.
Step 4
Step 4
Back to the house. To make it comfortable to rest or live permanently, you need a window. You can decide how many windows you would like to install in such a dwelling, determine their size and order. If you want to save money, you can use an old window by determining the size of the window opening. In this case, one window was installed.
Step 5 Before you siding your house, it’s time to install the windscreen.
Step 6 In this case, log-like vinyl siding was used to cover the future house. It looks very expensive and stylish, it will look especially interesting if you create such a house from a barn on a country plot.
Step 7 A cozy barn house and a mini gazebo are ready! If necessary, you can do the internal arrangement of such a dwelling, for example, decorate it in any style. Now such a room is suitable not only for storing various things, but also for a comfortable pastime.

Video – Do-it-yourself garden house-shed

Do-it-yourself sauna in an old barn | DIY

Content ✓

  • ✓ General plan
  • ✓ Floor
  • ✓ Frame plus walls
  • ✓ Ceiling
  • ✓ Shelves
  • 900 13 ✓ Furnace and ventilation

  • ✓ Narrow door
  • ✓ Electricity
  • ✓ Important addition

Dacha is a place where you can enjoy nature and relax from the city. But a hot sauna gives me complete relaxation. I decided to convert an unused wooden shed with a concrete floor to it.

General plan

Used a large part of the shed for the sauna – about 6 sq. m. m. For one person in the steam room there should be at least 2 “squares”. My family is small, so this area is quite suitable for us. I planned in advance the location of the furnace and shelves.


The concrete floor of the shed in the area reserved for the sauna was covered with pimpled tiles, on which it is impossible to slip. Now, when we go to the sauna, we also put wooden grates on top of the tiles.


I did not make holes in the floor to drain the water – we usually do not use water in the sauna. Of course, sometimes you want to give in to the park. But if you steamed with steam, after that we ventilate the sauna and wipe the floor with a dry cloth.

See also: Do-it-yourself bathhouse

Frame plus walls

I made a steam room from spruce beams and aspen boards 6 cm thick. I chose well-dried wood, it will last longer.

I built the frame of the walls and ceiling from the beams. The hardest part was attaching them to the floor. To do this, I drilled matching holes in the bars and the floor, where I then inserted large screws. Between the bars and the floor put a layer of waterproofing.

First, I provided the frame of the walls with vapor barrier boards, then sheathed it with aspen boards. I made longitudinal grooves on the boards. They made it possible to firmly “hook” the structure. The bottom layer was also laid on waterproofing. The nails with which he nailed the boards, he drove deeper into the wood so as not to get hurt and burn, because the temperature in the sauna reaches 100 °.


The ceiling was made from the same boards as the walls, but sawn in half: from a board 6 cm thick, two 3 cm thick were obtained. Since the area of ​​​​the room is small, the boards were fastened not to the crate, but directly to the frame.


He made the shelves for steamers spacious – 70 cm wide. I carefully processed the upper part with fine emery so that no one drove a splinter.

Stove and ventilation

At the door, he placed a stove-heater on refractory bricks. Bricks were also placed between the stove and the wall. The pipe was brought out. He fenced the furnace with wooden railings so as not to accidentally touch the hot metal.

I drilled a small hole in the wall next to the stove – for air to flow into the stove. I also made a ventilation hole under the ceiling. Both openings were equipped with valves that allow you to regulate the inflow and outflow of air.

Reference by topic: Do-it-yourself bath – several options for building a bath

Narrow door

In order to reduce heat loss through the door, I made it narrow – 60 cm and provided it with a seal. The door opens to the outside – to the barn, which thus turned into a dressing room.